“Black Widow.”

Nearly all of the most pirated movies of the year so far were available online in some form.
It shows the risks for studios when releasing a movie on streaming services and in theaters simultaneously.
Theater owners have criticized the strategy, arguing it increases piracy and eats at a movie’s box office.

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During the pandemic, Hollywood studios have released some of their biggest movies simultaneously to theaters and streaming services. Theater owners generally hate it and have escalated their criticism of the strategy since the release of “Black Widow,” which Disney debuted in theaters and on Disney+ for an additional $30 fee on the same day.

A major part of their argument is that it leads to more piracy, which can hurt a movie’s box office.

“When a movie is released simultaneously to a streaming service, a pristine copy of that movie is made available day one that it’s in cinemas,” John Fithian, the CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), told Insider.

“Black Widow” is the biggest movie at the US box office so far this year with $182 million. But NATO believes it would have made more money, and not had such a dramatic drop at the domestic box office from it first to second weekend, if it had been exclusive to theaters.

Fithian argued that “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” another Marvel movie released over the weekend with a record $90 million during the four-day holiday, will have stronger legs at the box office because it’s not streaming – and therefore not being pirated as much.

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Early piracy data suggests that could be the case. After “Black Widow” debuted on Disney+, it quickly shot to the top of piracy news website TorrentFreak’s weekly list of most pirated movies. “Shang-Chi,” in contrast, debuted at No. 5 on this week’s list.

An analysis of TorrentFreak’s weekly lists throughout the year show the risks of the simultaneous release strategy. While some of the movies that topped the lists were successful at the box office given the circumstances of the pandemic, theater owners would argue that they lost money from piracy.

Nearly all of the movies that topped the lists each week were online in some form, either on streaming services or available to rent on premium video-on-demand (PVOD) platforms after their theatrical runs (only one week so far this year had a movie top the list that was only in theaters at the time: “A Quiet Place Part II”).

Warner Bros. releases made up the majority of movies that topped the weekly lists, as the studio is releasing all of its 2021 films simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. Of the 36 weeks so far this year that TorrentFreak has tracked the most pirated movies for, a movie that was streaming on HBO Max topped 16 of them.

Here’s how that broke down by platform:

HBO Max – 16 weeks
PVOD – 9
Disney+ – 6
Paramount+ – 2
Amazon Prime …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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